“I’m close to tears most of the time, recently,” are the opening words of this document of emotional upheaval; the debut solo effort from Mystery Jets bassist Kai Fish. Yet far from the forty-five minute acoustic navel-gazing session we were expecting after opener ‘Erasing The Young’, ‘Life In Monochrome’ is actually a rich, Technicolor guitar pop album, tempered by downbeat and sometimes desperate lyrical themes. ‘Homerton Baby’ rocks like a well-crafted take on Babyshambles, while ‘Windows In Mirrors’ is awkwardly hesitant, doom-laden and vaguely psychedelic. Damon Albarn’s solo projects are clearly an influence on standout track ‘Real Life’; in fact the various influences throughout are so strongly felt that you sometimes wonder where Kai’s own voice is. But this is an album that speaks to unhappy, lonely people in its lyrics, and fans of bright, melancholic melody in its music. It speaks superbly, and it speaks volumes.

Chris Watkeys